Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, and recording professionals dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers.
Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education, and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.
On June 16, 2016 The Recording Academy established new amendments and key dates guiding the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards® process. Among other changes, the updates allow previously ineligible streaming-only works into the process and limit the number of categories in which members may vote. The new guidelines go into effect immediately in the current-year awards cycle.
Rule amendments include the following changes below. With these changes fan favorite artist such as Chance the Rapper, who’s mixtapes have sparked a legion of fans and has made history for being the first artist to break into the Billboard top 200 charts with no record sales, now has a chance at winning the prestigious Grammy!
Streaming-Only Recordings Now Eligible
Previous eligibility guidelines required recordings to be commercially available via general distribution or digital recordings/downloads, thereby precluding works released solely through streaming services. The eligibility guidelines have been revised to include recordings released via streaming platforms, and are updated as follows:
- Release Date: Recordings (albums/singles) must be available to the public nationwide as stand-alone purchases or streams between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016. Imports are not eligible.
- General Distribution: Works must be released via general distribution, defined as the nationwide release of a recording via brick and mortar, third-party online retailers, and/or applicable digital streaming services. Applicable streaming services are paid subscription, full catalogue, on-demand streaming/limited download platforms that have existed as such within the United States for at least one full year as of the submission deadline. All recordings entered must have an assigned International Standard Recording Code (ISRC).
- Digital Recordings: Recordings released nationwide via download or streaming service must have quality comparable to at least 16-bit 44.1 kHz. Submissions sent to The Academy for consideration must also include both the original file and the product, proper label credits (producer, mixer, songwriter, etc.) in the metadata file, and a verifiable online release date.
Recordings must be non-infringing, original works of authorship. To the extent a recording embodies in whole or in part the copyrighted work of a third party, appropriate authorization to use and incorporate such copyrighted work must have been obtained. If allegations are made that a recording is unauthorized and does not meet these criteria, The Academy will consider the allegations and determine, in its sole discretion, the eligibility of such recording.
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Category Renamed and Redefined
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration has been renamed and redefined as Best Rap/Sung Performance to represent the current state and future trajectory of rap by expanding the category beyond collaborations between rappers and vocalists to include recordings by a solo artist who blurs the lines between rapping and singing. The expanded category is defined as follows:
- Best Rap/Sung Performance
This category is intended to recognize solo and collaborative performances containing elements of R&B and rap in melody and song. In the case of a collaboration of artists who don’t usually perform together, one of the collaborating artists should be credited and recognized as a featured artist.